By Ransom Riggs
Published by Quirk Books
ISBN 978 1 59474 612 3
Back in 2011, an intriguing mix of young adult fantasy and authentic vintage photographs called Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was a surprise hit. Now, at last, comes the sequel. Director Tim Burton ( Frankenweenie, Alice in Wonderland) is about to start filming Miss Peregrine, and that seems like a perfect match.
But until the movie hits cinemas, we can enjoy Hollow City, the new, second adventure for Jacob Portman and his gang of uniquely gifted friends.
When we last met Miss Peregrine's gang of young mutants, there had been trouble that had almost destroyed their home and their existence. The island was protected from the outside world by a time loop, but an evil supernatural force had penetrated the loop with the intention of wiping them out.
Accidental Peculiar Jacob Portman managed to get his newfound friends off the island, but not before something dreadful happened to Miss Peregrine.
Trapped in one of her transformations as a black bird, it is a race against time to find another ymbryne like Miss Peregrine who has the magical abilities to bring the headmistress back into her human form.
Moving through time loops and meeting an intriguing menagerie of animals and other children with peculiar talents, Hollow City begins in 1940, at the exact point that the first book ended.
Once again, Ransom Riggs's use of grotesque and unsettling old photographs is just as eerie and successful as it was first time round. Don't be tempted to flip through the book glancing at the photographs before you start to read!
These days, it is thrilling to discover a writer who has created a fresh and original world instead of jumping on an offshoot of something that has been done before. Riggs' two 'Miss Peregrine' novels are very much originals, and there is promise of more to come. Hopefully, Mr Riggs is searching through boxes of old photographs in flea markets at this very moment.
This is a must-read for anyone with an appetite for the bizarre. New readers will quickly pick up the story and existing fans will be happy to meet old friends and join them on their eccentric and sometimes quite scary adventures. It's weird, full of action, scary monsters, and packed with unexpected surprises. Shiver and enjoy!
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com.